Achoo! First allergy alert of the season

Lawton_You may think that your uncontrollable sneezing, coughing, and sore throat is part of having the flu, but it may not be. It's allergy season in Oklahoma, and it's getting so bad that the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic has issued its first allergy alert of the season. Pollen and mold counts are off the charts, and it has Oklahoman's looking for some relief.

Allergy symptoms are popping up all over the state with pollen and mold counts reaching over 1500 grains per cubic meter. Allergy Specialist Dr. David Maury says April allergies are typical for Oklahoma. But, he says you don't have to suffer. He says antihistamines help protect you from the symptoms of allergies, and protect your soft tissues from allergens. Another option for battling sneezy symptoms is to get an allergy shot.

Sandra Stephens gets an allergy shot every week. "Before, I'd have runny eyes, runny nose, coughing, scratchy throat, and now I don't have that as much," she says. "As bad as it [the pollen count] is right now, you know, with the pollen real high, its not that bad for me." Allergy shots boost your immune system to help fight allergies, and even Dr. Maury's nurse began taking the shots. She says they're worth it. "I started noticing right away," she says. "I used to have headaches all the time, and once I started the shots, the headaches were fewer."

One precaution that can help the most - get rid of dust in your home. Especially where it's likely to collect the most - in your carpet. Even when those with allergies take precautions, they may still have some symptoms since the pollen and mold levels are so high - even those who get allergy shots may still have to take Benadryl to help ease discomfort.

Other ways to reduce allergens - encase your mattress in plastic to keep out dust mites (a big contributor to allergies), and change your filters regularly. Some filters can capture even the tiniest particles of mold and pollen.